Rapid start on the track (nd currently)

Photo: AFP / Greg Baker

The completely renovated Izu Velodrom, 120 kilometers from Tokyo, seems to suit German cyclists. “I like the train, it runs smoothly,” said Emma Hinze on Monday, shortly after she had just as smoothly ridden to silver. However, the three-time world champion was still a little bit disappointed. “We drove here faster than ever before. But then you’re disappointed if you don’t win the run, ”said the Hildesheim native in an interview with ARD. It was the same with her approaching woman. «At first we were disappointed. The gold was so close enough to touch and in the end it was so scarce, ”Lea Friedrich made no great secret of her soul. “In the end we are proud that we can wear a medal,” said the 21-year-old, but still in a mood of joy: “We are mega-happy.”

That was also allowed to be. The final was really close, with the Germans twice below the old world record. But the Chinese Zhong Tianshi and Bao Shanju set an enormous pace every time, after one lap they were already three tenths of a second ahead of the German duo. On the second, Hinze turned up, got within eight hundredths of a second to the rivals – but no longer over. She did not want to reproach her driver for the backlog. National coach Detlef Uibel also praised the increases that Friedrich had made in the Olympic season. “She has improved her best times by more than two tenths of a second and was only even considered as a starter this year,” said the former third place in the World Championship in the sprint.

All athletes and their support staff had come to the games with great uncertainty. The last big showdown of the world’s elite took place more than a year ago in Berlin. At the World Cup there, Emma Hinze cleared a lot with three rainbow jerseys, succeeding the unfortunate double Olympic champion and eleven-time world champion Kristina Vogel. She actually sees Hinze as her worthy successor, praising her at the World Cup in her typically rough way as the “woman with the thickest eggs”. Hinze took that as a compliment: “Wow, I thought, what an accolade”, Hinze recalled and explained: “What she meant by that was that I won all the races from the front. I just had good legs and I’m a fighting pig. “
Such qualities are quite useful in these Olympics. On the one hand, because of the long break in competition, nobody was able to assess their own performance compared to the competition. Everyone trained more than ever before, but the tough competition is missing.

On the other hand, the accommodation allocated to the track cyclists also shocked them in terms of bed quality, anything but spoiled athletes. At first she was shocked by the sight of the accommodations, “said Hinze in a video link with journalists. “I remembered it differently from Rio,” she said. Unlike most of the others, the track cyclists are now quartered in the old athletes’ village from the 1964 Games. This can be seen as an attempt at sustainability by the usually clumsy Olympians. But above all it is probably a product of lovelessness. “Unfortunately, no effort was made to make our village Olympic in any way,” criticized Maximilian Levy. The track sprinter from Berlin is already playing his fourth game. “It’s ancient and nothing is looked after or maintained. There is nothing to suggest that we are here at the Olympics, ”Levy continued. The right sustainability symbolism would only have worked if the high-ranking gentlemen around IOC President Thomas Bach had moved in there; but they stay in luxury hotels as always.

Instead of being in the Olympics, the athletes feel more in Sparta, the ancient city-state that was known for being tough on its fighters. But the German track cyclists are making the best of the situation and are now shining in the Velodrome, where numerous spectators are enjoying themselves in the stands despite Corona. In Izu, different corona rules apply than in the actual Olympic city of Tokyo.

If you could still hope for precious metal from Hinze and Friedrich, despite all the competition uncertainties, the performance of the four-man was a surprise. Railway specialist Franziska Brauße and Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Mieke Kröger, who are successful on the road and on the track, pulverized the old world record that the British Olympic athlete had set in Rio. The British women also stayed below their old best time. Nevertheless, the German four is suddenly in the favorite position. “We had a really good day. We already knew from training that it was there. We’re taking that with us now as a motivation for the next runs, “said Brennauer – and added:” You can always dream. “With dreams like these, the Spartan ambience probably takes a back seat.

Silberfrau Hinze doesn’t bother to complain much anyway. The reigning world champion has further medal chances in the sprint and keirin.



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